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NFL: AFC North Preview 2010

Out of all the conferences I’ve looked at, the AFC North is the only conference that only has one team that’s the weak link in the conference. This should be good news for your football betting needs. If football betting is your thing, then you are probably going to be pretty successful in the AFC North. For football betting, you can count the Cleveland Browns out. They are the AFC North’s weak link. However, the other three teams in the AFC North, the Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, will surely pull their own weight coming up this 2010 season.

Let’s start with the weak link of the conference, the Cleveland Browns. Amazingly enough, the Cleveland Browns didn’t do too badly in 2009, as they went 5-11, which is honestly better than I expected. If you were to look at the Cleveland Browns’ 2009 results, you would perceive one thing: the Browns lost early and gout used to losing. In fact, the Cleveland Browns lost the first four games of the season. Then they decided to get their act together in week six against the Buffalo Bills, squeaking past the Buffalo Bills 6-3. But apparently the Cleveland Browns didn’t enjoy being the top team when ESPN would do their game recaps because the Cleveland Browns proceeded to lose the next seven games. After a seven game losing streak, it appears that the Cleveland Browns got tired of losing, because they finished their season with four straight wins, starting with a surprising 13-6 win over quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Apart from the win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Cleveland Browns’ wins weren’t impressive, as they beat the Kansas City Chiefs 41-34 in week 15, the Oakland Raiders 23-9 in week 16, and the Jacksonville Jaguars 23-17 in the final week of the 2009 season, week 17. has the Browns as the long shots in this division; with their line at +2000 this could be the bet of the season. Get in early while the line is still strong and the payday could be huge.

It appears that a lack of quarterback stability was probably the root cause for the Cleveland Browns’ depressing 5-11 season. Quarterbacks Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson each played eight games throughout the season, which didn’t give the offense time to get accustomed with a quarterback because they were changing. I mean, Brady Quinn played the first two games of the season, then Derek Anderson played the next six, then Brady Quinn played the next six games, and then Derek Anderson finished up the season by playing the last two games. The Cleveland Browns should have stuck with one quarterback for the entire season, and only put in the second string quarterback when the starter is injured. Staying with one quarterback gives the wide receivers, offensive linemen, running backs, tight ends and everyone else the chance to build a relationship and build trust within each other. However, the Cleveland Browns toyed with the team’s chemistry and it was not good.

On the contrary, maybe some good will come out of this. Since Derek Anderson was the starter, and Brady Quinn played eight games, playing those eight games gave Brady Quinn an immense and invaluable amount of experience. It’s good to have your players, especially quarterbacks, be able to effectively run the offense when they’re needed, so perhaps giving eight games to each of the quarterbacks was not such a bad idea.

Unfortunately for the Cleveland Browns, they’re in a very talented conference, which includes the team that put a 19 point smackdown on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the Wild Card game in 2008, the Baltimore Ravens. Also, the Cleveland Browns have an extremely difficult three game stretch starting in week seven: the Browns play the New Orleans Saints on October 24, the New England Patriots on November 7, and the New York Jets on November 14. Luckily for the Browns, the games against the Patriots and the Jets are both home games, so that will probably even the scales in the Cleveland Browns’ favor.

So, for your football betting adventures, you can pretty much rule out the Cleveland Browns again in 2010. I think their unwillingness to stick to one quarterback throught the season is what will bring about their downfall. Once again, look for the Cleveland Browns to be the bottom dwellers of the AFC North yet again come 2010.